Ohio University has recently done renovations on the McKee House and the Konneker Alumni Center in addition to selling the Pilcher House property.
The McKee House, 44 University Terrace, has been receiving updates to the front porch and roof, costing $34,322 as of Sept. 20, Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Steve Wood said. The work is being done by in-house labor, Wood said. The updates were required to address safety concerns related to the structural integrity of the roof and front porch.
A few additional costs are expected as the project comes to a close, Wood said.
The updates to Konneker Alumni Center, 52 University Terrace, focus on increasing accessibility to the building, Wood said. This included the addition of a ramp into the first floor as well as the creation of a fully accessible bathroom on the first floor.
Some deferred maintenance issues such as window replacements, electrical upgrades and updates to the heating and cooling systems were also addressed by the project, Wood said.
This project is funded by the Central University Fund and has a budget of $1,712,750. The Board of Trustees approved the initial budget in March 2018 and approved an addition in January 2019, Wood said.
In October 2020, most of the construction was completed, and the total cost came to $1,374,960.80, as of Sept. 20 of this year.
The Pilcher House, 10 E. Union St., was sold through a sealed bid auction in December 2020, Dominick Brook, director of real estate at OU, said. The property was sold to JTM Real Estate LLC for $315,000. The title was transferred in May 2021, so none of the recent renovations are funded by OU, Brook said.
The property is now under possession of the Uptown Realty Group, Bob Prebe, co-owner, principal broker and property manager of Uptown Realty, said. The group has a focus on updating historic rental properties in Uptown Athens, according to a press release.
The Uptown Realty offices are to be located on the first floor of the building, and the group hopes to rent the second floor out to another business, Prebe said.
“The Pilcher House location provides a convenient and welcoming location for Ohio University students and the Athens, Ohio public alike,” the release read.
Before renting the upstairs out, however, the group is doing some renovations on the building, he said.
“When we purchased it ... it was just dirty and filthy and just very neglected for a long time,“ Prebe said. “So, what we're doing is really a lot of clean-up.”
In addition to basic clean-up, some structural issues are being addressed. These issues included repairing the mortar between the bricks on the outside of the building. Prebe said the issues were to be expected, however, as they are not uncommon when dealing with historic properties.
On the interior, the group will not be changing much in order to preserve the historic feel, Prebe said, but safety features will be added.
An open house is being planned for spring of 2022, according to the release.